Perennially Yours

Here in New England, Perennially Yours is synonymous with Kerry Ann Mendez, speaker, author, gardening expert, designer and event organizer.

I have heard Ms. Mendez speak several times and have always enjoyed the opportunity so I jumped at the chance to hear her talk last week about low maintenance gardening.

Her top design tips for a knockout garden were:

  • Use foliage to provide interest and drama three or four seasons of the year
  • Bulbs placed in among perennials and shrubs can provide a lot of color
  • Flowering shrubs require less maintenance and can provide the equivalent of seven or more perennials in the same space
  • Use color as a design tool to trigger emotion  or draw a person’s attention towards or away from something
  • Repetition in the garden is a positive thing and creates rhythm and ties a garden together
  • Give the eyes a rest with some garden art pieces like benches, containers, bird baths that allow the eye to move around
  • Reach for the sky with vertical interest by using trellises, arbors, or pergolas
  • Plant in multiples for a statement with odd numbers (three, five, seven)
  • A neat edge to your garden functions like a picture frame enclosing a beautiful garden space
  • Mix a variety of shapes – sky, mounded, irregular, rounded, etc.

She had a couple of interesting suggestions for a shade garden that I’m on the hunt for right now – Lemony Lace Elderberry and Banana Boat Sedge.


For those downsizing or living in an urbanlab_140626_2919__page_image environment, Brazel Berries sells a large variety of berries in containers that fit quite nicely on a patio or balcony.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries can all grow right in a container.

Have you ever wanted to find an annual (one pot) that will cover 4-5′ and not need to be deadheaded? How about Proven Winner’s Vista Series Petunias. I’m not promoting Proven Winners, but this plant was amazing with regard to the space it covered and the fact that it didn’t need to be deadheaded.

It was a great hour and a half. If you are interested in hearing more from Kerry Mendez, sign up for her newsletter or pick up one of her books.

Looking for new watering techniques to save time, money, and resources? One of my fellow Master Gardener’s is quite an expert on wicking and did a post on how she incorporates wicking in her raised beds.  Interesting topic as we all look for new and improved ways to garden.

Happy gardening this week. 🙂

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
This entry was posted in Cottage Perennials, Gardening and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Perennially Yours

  1. Dawn says:

    Thank you for sharing all of the wonderful tips, Judy! I would love to hear Kerry Mendez speak some day. I love her book, The Right-Size Flower Garden, and am rereading it this summer. It is filled with gardening wisdom and speaks to my heart, as an aging gardener! ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Normally, this would be really interesting. Sadly, in this summer of our distubing discontent, the gypsy moth caterpillars, having stripped the oaks, birch, and maples … and after finishing off the pines for dessert … are consuming every last blooming plant. I hope they really hate holly because it’s the last shrub I’ve got. Rhododendrons gone. Lilies gone. Roses gone. Talk about memorable years: I will never forget this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A blogging friend in PA was talking about the visiting cicadas in her area, and I told her about your current experience. I think after reading about what you are going through she was feeling better about what she is experiencing. You have been hit hard and there doesn’t appear there is a lot to do at this point. I hope they at least go away soon so you don’t get bit going in and out of your house. Sad state of gardening affairs in MA.


  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Great tips that I’ll certainly be keeping in mind. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing. this gives me some good ideas. Our garden is still a bit new to us and it is a bit dull in places. This is good food for thoughts. xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks so much for this post. Between you and Kerry Ann the tips are so clearly written and easy to follow. I am going to print it for easy reference. I also enjoy the picture of the elderberry bush. We have our first one, a baby right now, and I am in awe of its growth prediction. Seeing your picture helps somehow, not sure why, but I feel calmer! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    Sounds like a great talk packed with good advice. I’ll check out the links – thanks, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sandi says:

    Thank you for your article! I am going to look for these petunias. Hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joey says:

    I like a lot of green, in different colors and textures with bits of color here and there. I love this lil post 🙂
    I am in constant need of new scaffolding…I should learn to build trellises or somethin.
    I had some wave petunias (no deadheading, white) in my front bed one year, the whole thing, 12×6, and those suckers not only got almost two feet high and thick, but they hung over the stone and I had to pull them up for my husband to mow. I sure wish I knew what they were, they were fantastic, gorgeous creatures!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Great tips Judy. Thanks for taking time to share them. Hope you find the two shade plants. That sedge is pretty interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. KerryCan says:

    Right at this very moment, low-maintenance gardening is sounding very appealing! It’s fun to read the list of tips and realize we have, accidentally, incorporated some of them! And I love that color of yellow green for shady areas–it really lights up a space.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oddment says:

    I add my thanks here for the tips. And also my sympathies to Marilyn Armstrong — how devastating!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. joannesisco says:

    Great post. As a gardening newbie, I’m always looking for advice. Only recently I decided that my garden definitely lacks any interest in the early spring and perhaps I should be looking at planting some bulbs in the fall. This post confirms that instinct and now I should be thinking about how to do that.

    Great article on wicking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have chipmunks and squirrels that destroy any bulbs I plant, but there are some gorgeous displays from other bloggers. You might consider planting in your current beds, designs in the yard where they will just be mowed over with the grass or there are many who pack them into containers, store them over the winter, pull them out and instant beauty wherever you want to place your containers. I can’t wait to see what you do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Murphy's Law says:

    OMG!! Petunias that you don’t have to deadhead..,,every 3 hours! One of my dreams come true. Now, if you could help me with my other dream/wish….a bra that actually fits–both of my girls!! Lol!

    Great tips. Appreciate it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was amazed that there was a petunia plant (single, not a four or six pack) that would cover such a large area and not have to be deadheaded. But, a good fitting bra needs an entirely different investigation process. Maybe we could get all the female readers to submit their favorites and we could gain some knowledge from that. Thank you for the laugh out loud. 🙂


  14. germac4 says:

    I liked the list from Perennially Yours especially the comment about flowering shrubs requiring less maintenance than Perennials….I must remember this next spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never met a perennial I didn’t love, but the fact remains that they do require quite a bit of work. A few flowering shrubs or those with interesting foliage would certainly help brighten a garden. As this gardener ages, the number of hours per day I can ‘work’ outside seems to shorten each year.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. germac4 says:

    Yes, sadly…me too!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Off to check out that wicking post as I’ve not heard of it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for passing on those tips, very helpful. We are trying more shrubs to cut down on maintenance and I love Spring bulbs. We need to investigate bulbs for other seasons too. Lovely post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. jesh stg says:

    The photo is like a still life, Judy! Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. pommepal says:

    Thanks for the tips well worth applying.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Grandma Kc says:

    OK! So I told you that we haven’t had squirrels in our neighborhood until 2 years ago. Well a couple of months ago I noticed these little holes in my lily garden. Sammy got my bulbs! I only had one lily come up this summer! Usually have 15 or 20!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my – not good. If I got paid a bounty for every chipmunk and squirrel in my immediate area, I could take a long weekend at a really nice hotel. Hope yours find another yard they like better or you will be putting those bulbs in the ground inside wire cages.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Joyce says:

    How did I miss this one? Found it scrolling thru some old emails that piled up during the week I had company!
    I noted the idea to grow raspberries in containers. I might be able to do that on my deck – too late to start now, though. Grandma had bushes in her yard and we just popped over any old time and picked as many as we liked. They were so good! And at the grocery store today, one handful is $4 – yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Anne Terry says:

    I love bulbs with perennials. Especially early spring bulbs.
    Daffodils behind day lilies.
    Iris reticulata among peonies.
    Squill just about anywhere.
    Anemone with lavendar.
    Allium between the tall phlox.
    Belladonna lilies with the asters.
    And grape hyacinth always tucked in where reblooming tulips are put into perennial beds. The fall leaves of hyacinth, which could be viewed as a negative, remind me not to crowd the tulips when I’m moving the periennials around, or accidentally dig them up.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.